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Good Table Manners

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Good Table Manners

Published 1951

A bad-mannered 14-year-old meets himself as a young man of 21, and learns the fundamentals of good table manners.

Run time 10:19
Producer Coronet Instructional Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W



Ken Smith sez: The best of the table manners films. "Chuck" has terrible table manners. But then he's visited by himself, several years older (and with even less acting ability), and Chuck-from-the-future teaches Chuck-of-the-present how to "park your fork" and countless other details of table etiquette. "People judge many things about you just by the way you eat!"
Chuck-of-the-present (Stuart Sklamm) went on to star in Piano Pals on Chicago TV. Chuck's dad (Bill Mott) was not a professional actor; he got the part because he was director Ted Peshak's neighbor.

11:20:37:00 - 11:21:47:00

MS young teenage boy running down living room stairs; he quickly walks over to the dining room table where his parents are sitting; he sits down, talking (china cabinet and flowered wallpaper in BG); father passes him a plate of food; boy enthusiastically talks as he takes a bite of food; mother passes him a bowl of mashed potatoes; he sloppily scoops them onto his plate; CU mother talking to boy (o.s.) disapprovingly; boy, sarcastically grinning, takes a dollop of potatoes and puts them on his plate; he passes dish along; CU father talking to boy (o.s.); MS family sitting at dinner table talking and eating; boy looks unhappy; boy takes a bite of food while talking; father yells; CU boys face, shocked
11:21:48:00 - 11:22:58:00

CU lighted lamp and book sitting on a living room table; boy's hand enters frame and picks up book; pan up and track out to MS boy leafing through book; his mother walks down stairs behind him buttoning her coat; father walks across floor in front of him; they all stand at front door talking; parents, dressed up, leave; boy sits down on sofa with book; he looks at an invitation placed inside of book; CU invitation for dinner party, including where's, when's and why's; MCU young man appears superimposed over the invitation, talking; CU boy rears back, surprised; MCU young man, superimposed over card, talking; card fades to wallpapered BG; young man, talking, walks by stairway to sofa where boy is sitting; boy and young man wearing identical clothing; they converse; CU boy talking; MS they sit on sofa together, talking; young man directs boys attention o.s.
11:22:59:00 - 11:33:37:00

MS dining room table with fruit basket centerpiece (china cabinet and flowered wallpaper in BG); fade in father, mother and son sitting at table, eating; family reaching over one another, fussing and eating sloppily; shot blurs; focus in to MS same family at table eating neatly and pleasantly, having a conversation; family fades out to MS table with centerpiece
11:23:37:00 - 11:23:58:00

MS young man and boy, identically dressed, sitting on living room sofa, talking (window and door in BG); CU boy talking; MS both converse; young man directs boys attention o.s.
11:23:58:00 - 11:24:38:00

MS dining room table (china cabinet and flowered wallpaper in BG); table turns into a small restaurant table (same dining room setting); waiter and couple enter frame; waiter seats young woman, young man seats himself; waiter gives them menus and awaits their order; fade out; fade in to CU young woman serving herself small portion of food from bowl that waiter is holding; track out as waiter walks to young man and he serves himself
11:24:39:00 - 11:25:08:00

MCU middle age man and young man sitting at dining room table eating lunch, talking (china cabinet and flowered wallpaper in BG); older man looks o.s., irritated; MCU same two men sitting in opposite seats (stairway and flowered wallpaper in BG); young man sloppily eating and talking; older man looks o.s.; MCU two men back in original seats, eating politely and talking
11:25:09:00 - 11:25:10:00

MS dining room table with fruit bowl centerpiece (china cabinet and flowered wallpaper in BG)
11:25:10:00 - 11:26:25:00

MS young man and boy, dressed identically, sitting on living room sofa, talking (window and door in BG, coffee table in FG); they walk over to dining room table; young man reaches toward the table; CU his hand over the table; he snaps his fingers and a table setting appears; MS both standing over place setting, looking at it and talking (stairway and flowered wallpaper in BG); CU 3 forks placed side-by-side; MS both standing beside place setting, talking; MCU young man talking; CU his hand picking up forks one at a time; both conversing; boy moves knife from one plate to another, confused; CU you man talking; MS both conversing; boy pretends to flip the pages of a book as he mischievously looks around; young man laughs
11:26:25:00 - 11:28:25:00

CU complete place setting at dinner table; man's hand enters frame, snaps fingers and food appears on the plates; MS young man and boy, identically dressed, standing beside the table (stairway and flowered wallpaper in BG); young man looks excited, boy looks surprised; they talk as young man sits down in front of food; he places a napkin in his lap as they discuss the food in front of him; MCU young man sitting at table, talking to boy (o.s.); he picks up a piece of bread as he talks; MCU young man and boy talking; young man points to food on plate as boy licks his lips expectantly; CU man's hand holding fork, pointing to each food item individually (pork chop, potatoes, beans and salad); he cuts potato and spears a bite of food; MCU man lifts food toward his mouth; he begins talking to boy (o.s.), lowering food away from his mouth and laying fork on plate; picks up fork again; CU plate setting as he lays fork down on plate; MCU young man gets up and boy sits down; young man stands beside table as boy grabs fork in his fist and begins to cut meat; CU boy's hands holding fork in fist, cutting meat; young man's hands enter frame and places fork correctly in boys hand; boy cuts meat; MCU both talking, boy takes bite of meat and sets fork and knife on plate; CU young man's hand enters frame and arranges fork and knife side-by-side on plate; hand reenters frame and snaps fingers; food disappears as bowl of soup appears
11:28:25:00 - 11:29:26:00

CU boy sitting at dining room table talking o.s. (sofa and coffee table in BG); he takes a spoonful of the soup sitting in front of him; takes a bite; looks o.s., smiling; MCU young man standing beside boy at table (stairway and flowered wallpaper in BG); young man and boy identically dressed; young man offers boy bowl of food; boy turns away, disgusted; he turns back around and politely rejects the food; they converse; boy gets up from table and they walk toward living room, talking (stairway and bookcase in BG); young man points o.s.; CU table setting with left over food; male hand enters frame and snaps fingers; plates disappear and clean table with fruit basket and tapestry centerpiece appears; MCU young man and boy talking; track in boy looking away; he quickly turns back with shocked look on his face
11:29:27:00 - 11:30:30:00

MS 2 boys in suits standing against wall by door frame, talking; 2 girls setting dining room table in BG; CU one boy looking around, fixing his tie; MS girl walks out door and invites everyone to come into dining room; several boys and girls walk in, find their seats and stand behind their chairs; MS boys walk behind girl's chairs and seat them; boys seat themselves; all talking and eating; CU boy; track out to MS boys and girls sitting at dinner table, talking and eating
11:30:31:00 - 11:30:36:00

"The End" 'Coronet Instructional Films'

Danger Lurks Safety


Reviewer: JayKay49 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 11, 2012
Subject: Emily Post For Kids
This film has some very 1951 features which include the saturated color on the livingroom wall (still in vogue from the late 40's); and who could miss the sweaters with the familiar moose pattern on 'em. A had-to-have in those days.

Chuck's father is either a clerk or cameraman filling in for the guy who was supposed to play that part....or he has a butt plug up his yank that's as big as a football. He is downright laughable - as are the Chuck and his alter ego characters with those Joan Crawford eyebrows...apparently a must have for teen characters when it came to casting for these Coronet films.
Reviewer: hankuh60 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 7, 2010
Subject: Love the sweaters
Good manners may help open those doors, but the sweaters these young men are wearing assure great success!
Reviewer: Zplomb - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 19, 2010
Subject: Up, Chuck !
Cute little flick about how proper table manner will get you ahead in life. Impress your girl! Impress the boss! All doors open to you when you know which fork to use! This piece holds great camp appeal.
Reviewer: doowopbob - favorite - May 9, 2010
Subject: ....BURP....
...I Used To Get Invited To Girlfriends House On Sundays..I Was 15 ...Sitting Across From Her Parents..She Would Be Rubbing My....Well, That Afternoon We Would Take A Walk In The Arboretum & She Would Get On Her Knees...AHHH....The 60s...!
Reviewer: Time Travelin Mike - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 31, 2010
Subject: Unintentional Time Travel Tale:
The writers of this instuctional film obviously wanted to make the story more interesting to it's young viewers, so they centered the story around the discussion between a young boy and his 21 year old self. I don't think the writers even had in the back of their minds that they were creating a time travel tale, but it is nontheless.

Just for fun, using today's sensabilites, we can deduce that 21 year old Chuck must have struck out on an important date due to his bad table manners. Therefore, he finds a way to go back to correct the mistake. Why else would you go back in time just to teach yourself good table manners?
Reviewer: ERD. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 24, 2008
Subject: Good social instructional film for the youngsters of 1951
A simpler era when compared to today. A time when the middle classs family could all sit down together and eat dinner. Standards were very important in those social circles. Somehow I found this 1951 film cute, although somewhat naive. In today's busy world, most of us don't think of what position to leave our knife and fork on the plate to indicate we are finished. The acting and direction was well done.
The script was well written for the generation intended to view the film.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 17, 2005
Subject: "Oh Boy, Ham!!
Chuck is a typical guy seen in these types of films who just wolfs down his meals, much to the chagrin of his parents. He even talks while his mouth his full!
One day, after seeing his parents going to a supper club party that Chuck didn't want to go to, (and wearing a laughably ugly sweater with the widest collared shirt ever) he wonders what life would be like in the future for him (or soemthing lol). Then all of a sudden, an 'older' version of chuck appears before him (wearing the same ridiculous outfit) to chastise Chuck about his table manners. The problem with this is, the guy has an obvious Latino accent.. While Chuck doesnt!! (I guess Chuck is being shipped off?) Anyways, Older self teaches Chuck about proper table manners, always take the fork that's farthest away. never comment about food you don't like. The older self says, "We won't bother to talk about the European style of eating".. GOOD! lol Soon Chuck is well trained, and runs off to the Supper club party! Yowza! This is a MUST SEE on this site!
Reviewer: Marysz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 22, 2004
Subject: The Two Chucks
Chuck is an only child whose parents have had no luck teaching him table manners. Embarrassed, Chuck stays home instead of going to a dinner party. HeÂs visited by a ÂghostÂÂhis future 21-year-old self. This older Chuck teaches young Chuck how to eat in a polite way, and Chuck goes to the party after all. At the party, young Chuck can still hear older ChuckÂs voice talking and telling him what to do.

Could ChuckÂs real problem be that he needs a big brother? It must be hard for Chuck to be an only child and have his parents focus on no one but him. Both the young Chuck and the old Chuck wear the same distinctive reindeer sweaters, no doubt knitted by mom. This suggests that the lonely young Chuck still lurks inside the older, self-assured Chuck.
Reviewer: Tavish McDonell - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 20, 2004
Subject: time travel useful in improving your table manners
Chuck is visited by his future self, a kind of John Connor sent back to the past to save him from the Terminator of bad manners stigma. An Oedipal fantasy of self-fathering...

The most amusing piece of unintentional irony is how "older Chuck" talks about the growing importance of impressing girls and authority figures, while at the same time being dopier and more maladroit than "younger Chuck."

The manners recommended are quite reasonable and still valid today--if only in the most formal settings.

A painless little time capsule of early 50's mores where "cool" is a distant rumour. Teenagers are expected to reason out that the best way to impress peers is to behave exactly like their parents. No wonder James Dean struck such a chord.
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